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How to Use a Pressure Canner

How To Use A Pressure Canner

There is probably no better way to provide for your own emergency food supplies than by canning. You will be able to can virtually any kind of food; from fruits and vegetables to meat, poultry, and fish. Canning is a great way to preserve your harvest if you have a garden or have access to local markets. If you or anyone in your family hunts or fishes, or if you raise animals, canning will be the means whereby you can preserve your excess, other than by freezing. Canning using a pressure canner basically eliminates the risk of serious food poisoning, as the temperature reached will be sufficient to kill dangerous pathogens. Most of the problem with botulism poisoning that occurred was because the hot water bath method of canning, rather than pressure canning, was used. The temperature in a hot water bath canner will never reach higher than 212 F, while a pressure canner can reach temperatures of 240 F or more.

Canning Vegetables

All low acid vegetables (and many tomatoes are now low acid) will need to be canned using a pressure canner. In order to do this, the vegetables should be washed thoroughly and cut or broken into manageable pieces. They can be canned using either a raw pack or hot pack method.

The jars and lids should be washed and then kept hot until ready to be filled. Several inches of water should be placed in the canner after the rack has been put in. Turn on the stove so that the water heats while you are preparing your jars. Try to keep in mind that the jars, lids, and water for fill must be kept hot.

Pack the jars with the vegetables, then using boiling water to fill to within one inch of the top. If you have used the hot pack method, simply use the water used to cook the vegetables in to fill the jars; once again leaving one inch at the top. Once the jars are filled place the lids on the rim of the jar, then screw down the lid bands firmly, but not so tightly that the excess air will not be able to escape during the canning process.

Depending on what type of vegetable you are processing, you will need to pay attention to the time needed and the pressure. Once the canning has been completed allow the canner to cool off. It will not be safe to open the canner until the pressure has returned to normal, at which time you can open the canner. Remember that the canner will still be hot. Remove the jars with a jar lifter and let them cool. You will probably hear a pinging sound as the lids are pulled in to form the vacuum seal.

Canning Meat

Although canning meat is not significantly different from canning fruits and vegetables, there are a few things to keep in mind. The jars, lids, and canner will all be prepared as the above, but you will add no liquid to the jars. The meat should be packed to within about ½ inch of the top and a teaspoon of salt added. Put on the lids and bands the same as with vegetables and follow the directions that accompany your canner.

Canned meat is good for at least one year. However, you should never eat home canned meat right out of the jar, it should either be heated for 10 minutes or used in a stew or casserole.

If canning is not for you or if you just can't find time to can an emergency supply, we offer food rations that will last through any emergency you have to go through. Canned food lasts one year or so, our food rations and assorted heater meals last 5 years or more. Which ever way you would like to go, make sure you prepare today.